The crew of a Marine jet that severed a gondola cable in Italy, plunging 20 people to their deaths, returned home Saturday to face possible charges.
The four crew members met with friends and family after arriving at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, said Capt. Robert Crum, a base spokesman.The men did not speak to reporters.
The gondola packed with skiers at an Italian Alpine resort crashed into the slopes after the EA-6B Prowler jet - based in Aviano, Italy - sliced its cable Feb. 3.
On Thursday, a Marine investigation board placed the blame for the tragedy on the four crew members, saying they broke rules on how fast and how low they could fly.
Their commanding officer said he would convene the military equivalent of a criminal grand jury, known as an Article 32 hearing, to determine if there is evidence to support criminal charges.
Officials said the hearing would consider charges such as negligent homicide, involuntary manslaughter, dereliction of duty and property damage.
The hearing has not been scheduled, and Crum said it likely would take place at nearby Camp Lejeune, about 30 miles southeast of Cherry Point.
The crew was on temporary assignment at Aviano from Cherry Point. They are: Capt. Richard Ashby, 31, of Mission Viejo, Calif., the pilot; Capt. Joseph Schweitzer, 30, of Westbury, N.Y.; Capt. William Raney II, 26, of Englewood, Colo.; and Capt. Chandler Sea-graves, 28, of Nineveh, Ind.